Friday, February 15, 2019

BASF promotes a smaller and tastier Romaine lettuce to encourage consumption

Lettuce heads under 500 grams are especially suitable for high-density cultivation systems that reduce production costs
In the Romaine lettuce market, size is very important. In fact, sales and consumption data confirm that in recent years Spanish consumers have been eating less Romaine lettuce because the commercially available varieties are not adapted to what the consumer wants. Currently, the Spanish supply of Romaine lettuce is based on pieces weighing more than 600 grams. This size is not easy to handle and has a slightly bitter flavor due to the required over-ripening to reach the standard commercial weight.
BASF Vegetable Seeds aims to revolutionize the Romaine lettuce market. With the results of a market analysis the company can promote a smaller type of Romain lettuce to pursue three objectives: encourage consumption, reduce production costs and more efficient use of the soil and resources needed to grow crops, while reducing food waste.

Double number of pieces per hectare
With a smaller size, the new Nunhems® Romaine lettuce varieties are ideal for high- density growing systems. Pieces of less than 500 grams can be increased from 50,000 to 92,000 lettuces per hectare and production costs can be significantly reduced. "Taking the shipping costs over the last ten years in consideration, a hectare of Romaine needs at least 70,000 pieces to be profitable", according to Alfonso Fernández, Sales Specialist Salads of BASF Vegetable Seeds.

An intense, sweet taste defines the new generation of Nunhems® Romaine lettuce. Market research confirms that 56% of European consumers associate quality with taste. For this reason, the organoleptic qualities and consumption experience of Romaine lettuce are a priority for new Nunhems Romaine assortment, which also offers important shape and color novelties. This will increase the option for product differentiation and consumer loyalty.
The new assortment facilitates year-round production, because the same varieties can be used in the different seasonal production areas in Spain and northern Europe with a top taste and attractive size.
"We have worked very hard to differentiate Romaine lettuce for its color, shape and flavor because from now on we want it to be perceived as a healthy and Premium food", explained Alfonso Fernández, Sales Specialist Salads of BASF Vegetable Seeds during his speech.

"The market for Romaine lettuce is declining in Spain but is growing steadily in the United Kingdom and Northern Europe. Therefore, market data confirms that there is a business opportunity to start doing things differently and, thanks to innovation, turn Romaine lettuce into a food capable of satisfying the current needs of the European consumer", explained Sara Rodriguez, Client Director of Kantar Worldpanel Spain during her intervention yesterday at 'Romaine Revolution'.

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About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2017, our division generated sales of €5.7 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.

About BASF
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The more than 115,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF gener-ated sales of €64.5 billion in 2017. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com
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